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Is it Time to Hit the Panic Button at Boston College?

Lack of depth and no roleplayers are BC's biggest concerns right now.

Matt Dewkett

Jerry York wasn't too down following his team's fourth straight loss on Tuesday night, a 6-3 setback against Beanpot rival Harvard. For as much as there is to worry about at The Heights currently, there is also plenty of reason to be optimistic.

Let's start with the causes of the current four-game losing streak, the longest such drought for the Eagles since the end of the 2003-2004 season. There is a serious lack of depth on the Boston College hockey roster right now.

On paper, BC's defense is better than any other in Division I. It includes junior captain and former first round draft pick Michael Matheson, second round draft picks Steve Santini and Ian McCoshen, a sure fire future first rounder in Noah Hanifin as well as Teddy Doherty and Scott Savage. Santini is out for the remainder of the first semester with a hand injury which has forced the staff to throw rarely used Travis Jeke into the lineup. He has seen less than five shifts a game in the three times he's dressed.

Up front Ryan Fitzgerald has scored more than 25 percent of BC's goals this season. There are other skilled forwards on the roster, but some are more suited for pro hockey with size and strength compared to the typical small, speedy forwards of the past. Austin Cangelosi, one of those small speedy forwards, is off to a slow start with just three assists in nine games.

The lack of depth extends to the goaltending position now with the abrupt departure of second stringer Brian Billett, who left the team for personal reasons. With star Thatcher Demko sick, career third stringer Brad Barone got the nod against Harvard and club goaltender Alex Joyce was brought up to be his backup.

Another issue that is impacting BC is a lack of role players. Jerry York and his staff have gotten the pick of the litter these past two decades and recruit very young players compared to other teams in Hockey East. That is catching up to them as some players aren't panning out and the third and fourth line is missing some of the grit that made the winning teams of BC past what they were.

Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy often talks about the intangibles and players who have an impact on the non-standardized score sheet, as he puts it. BC really lacks those players right now: roleplayers who just go out every shift and give it their all with the primary purpose of generating energy and knocking opposing teams out of their gameplan.

With all the troubles BC is having currently and the concerns that are present, it isn't all doom and gloom in Chestnut Hill. At the end of the day, if Santini returns for the second semester and everyone else on the blue line remains healthy, BC will have the best defensive corps in Division I. Demko was drafted in the second round of the 2014 NHL Draft for a reason. He's a very good goaltender.

The depth and youth of this team will most likely prevent the Eagles from winning any championships this season or even making the Frozen Four in the home city of Boston, but there's way too much talent and good coaching for Eagle fans to be too down on this team or pressing the panic button yet.


Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.